Out of all the umpteen social channels out there, one stands out for its simplicity:
Medium was created to be a simple form of expression and displayer of content.
The interface is minimal and lets the user focus on either writing or reading. There isn’t a platform like Medium elsewhere on the internet because all other platforms are constantly looking to add more and more features.
Medium seems to be content with its limited set of features.
This is good.
This is good for the reader, for the creator, and for the community as a whole.
What Medium is doing to written content is akin to what Penicillin is doing to humanity:
- Keeping it alive.
So why is the Medium blogging platform important for you?
Medium takes away distractions.
The content is curated and the writers Medium attracts are of the highest quality. The focus of Medium is to keep content strong.
Now, unlike the Facebook world where people can blatantly rip off video ideas and other memes, it’s hard to rip off original written content on Medium.
This is the advantage original creators have.
What kind of people use Medium?
The kind of content that works well on Medium is original written content.
The readers of Medium generally are:
- People who are patient enough to read the written form.
- Book readers who enjoy good writing (the only kind of content that works on Medium).
- Mostly older millennials. (Younger millennials tend to chill on Snapchat.)
If you are an expressive writer and want to unleash your emotions, then this is a good platform.
You also do not have to come across as an expert. Instead, you can come across as a person who is learning and sharing those learnings.
This is not only tolerated, it’s appreciated because people can connect better with others who are like themselves.
How to be effective on Medium
- Make sure to edit your work when you are done or run it by your friends or family and make sure there aren’t grammatical errors or blatant spelling mistakes. Medium looks for quality.
- Pick a niche that you want to stand out for. Take a look at Srinivas Rao. He has created a niche for himself.
Writing a title
A title is the first thing people see.
You get two to three seconds to get the person interested in your content. Take a look at the example below:
“I hack time,” is a perfect example of a good title because in three words the author is able to explain what the topic is about and also suggest that he’s “somewhat of an expert”.
Another good example is the one below. The author isn’t hesitant to use a controversial word because it is how we speak in our daily lives. This makes it more personal.
- The more personal you get, the more people react to your title.
Let’s say you are writing about productivity…
- How to be more productive – 10 tips.
- How I became a productivity ninja with these 10 killer habits.
The title is the gateway to your content.
It’s the first impression. It’s the door to your business.
You need to make it as appealing as possible and as creative as possible.
To give you more ideas, let me share four high-quality titles and explain what makes them appealing.
The good thing about this title is the number of people that it appeals to.
It appeals to young men, young women, and parents. A person who fits into one those categories will be extremely curious because it’s somehow related to people in their same demographic.
This hits right at the core of what most of the world is struggling with.
The second part of the title asks only for a small amount of time to solve a big problem. This may come across as click bait, but it is very effective.
People like hacks and shortcuts and this title suggests that.
It suggests that the effort was one fold, but the positive impacts were manifold.
It appeals to a business owner right from the get go.
This is ingenious because of the use of a very famous lyric from the extremely popular Rihanna song, ‘We Found Love’.
It will get a lot of clicks simply because it’s creative.
Style of Writing
1. Make it personal
The way stories are written on Medium are different. They are extremely personal.
They are generally first-hand accounts of experiences that the author has gone through and the lessons learned from them.
More and more authors are coming out with their personal stories and not hiding behind anonymity. This is what currently does well on Medium.
Even if you are writing about not very emotional topics, speaking directly to your users helps.
2. Use lists
Lists are a great way of expressing your thoughts in small sentences.
3. Your content can be about anything
One of my favorite aspects of Medium is the random nature of posts.
- They can be something that you’re thinking about.
- They can be funny.
- They can be serious.
- They can be anything you want.
Your followers are not going to un-follow you because you have diversity in your content.
- They will un-follow you if you don’t.
Feel free to express yourself however you want.
Look at this absolutely random post called “10 Things About 10 Things”. He made it funny and also managed to direct people to his website in a very creative way.
The best way to figure out the best performing content is to go to the “Top Stories” section and check out all the articles written there.
See what emotions they evoke in you.
Distribution of content
Ultimately, writing on Medium and getting views there should affect your blog in a positive way.
If you’ve taken efforts to write a solid piece of content, then you need to double your efforts when it comes to marketing that piece of content.
Think of every piece of content as an entrepreneurial activity. Ask yourself, “How can I maximize this”?
- Start with your blog and post the content there.
- Share the article with your newsletter subscribers and ask them to share it on social media (don’t share it on Medium yet).
- After a few days, share the article on Medium and have a message at the bottom directing readers back to your blog.
Medium also has an option called Publications.
If you write about a set of things and want to collate all of that into one place, you can create a “Publication”.
There are a lot of publications for different topics such as self-improvement, development, creativity, etc. You can pitch your article idea to one of these publications.
(Sometimes you can even tweet the person directly and they’ll add your content.)
Make sure to have written a very good article that is relevant to the publication.
People also follow tags on Medium. What are tags?
- Tags are topics.
When you are writing an article, you have the option to tag your article based on a genre.
- Choose your tags well.
Tagging also helps when people visit individual topic pages as tags will show the top stories and the latest posts.
This is another way people find things on Medium.
(Note: There are other distribution strategies that you can use with other social channels, but it’s outside the scope of this article.)
If you are waiting for miracles to happen after writing two or three posts, then you are in for a shock.
It takes time for people to start recognizing you as a good writer, or a person who shares great information.
A lot of us feel rejected when we write a long and useful post and there is nobody interacting with it.
An apt analogy is going to the gym and not seeing results. A lot of us hit the gym in hopes of getting fitter. We put in hard work and in a week’s time, it’s difficult to keep the motivation up when we don’t see immediate results.
The best way to counter this is to make content creation a part of your routine. Prepare a content calendar.
Just keep doing it every day, no matter what.
Analytics on Medium
Medium provides data that can be very useful to you as a writer. It’s not exhaustive, but it suggests how well your content is performing.
The Read Ratio
This piece of information can be extremely valuable.
The “Read Ratio” is the number of people who actually read your entire article.
Here are some tips on how to increase your “Read Ratio”:
- Keep your reading time under 10 minutes. Anything more than that is too much time for a typical person to spend reading an article.
- Keep your paragraphs and sentences small. Don’t overwhelm your audience.
- Be a storyteller.
- Have images, GIFs, memes, and content breakers that guide the reader through your article seamlessly with visual content.
The Recommend Ratio
Although the “recommends” numbers are available, it would be helpful to understand how many readers who have read your article completely have also “recommended” the article.
How do you calculate the “Recommend Ratio”? Divide the “Recommends” by the “Reads”.
“Recommend” on Medium is important because when a person recommends your content, the more people see it. In order to get more people to recommend your articles, put in a call to action like:
“If you loved what you read, please click on “Recommend” to share it with more people!”
My personal numbers are abysmal and erratic.
One article has a 100% “Recommend Ratio” and others have 0%.
What this number will show you is the kind of content that people are more likely to share.
(Remember: Sharing/Recommending/Upvoting is the most important criteria in any social medium.)
Read Time and Read Ratio Correlation
Posts that are longer have a lower “Read Ratio” (and for obvious reasons).
You need to keep this in mind.
You can always ask the reader to “bookmark” the content so that they can access it at a later point in time.
But “Read Time” and “Recommend Ratio” doesn’t necessarily have to have a negative relationship.
In the case of an article where you’ve curated content and it’s an exhaustive list, people will recommend it more than normal content because of its value.
But that content’s “Read Ratio” will likely be poor.
Referrers – Understanding where your traffic is coming from
Medium has a neat feature called “Referrers”.
This option tells you where the traffic for that post came from.
Your efforts in redistributing content will show in this section.
It’s always good to know where your traffic is coming from so that you can focus all of your efforts on the channels that are working the best for you.
And that’s what you do on Medium to get more views.
Keep writing and publishing because that’s when you learn.
Having your article in “Drafts” doesn’t help at all!
Are you using Medium to increase blog traffic? How’s it working out for you? Let me know in the comments section.
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